Britcoin cryptocurrency bitcoin
Britcoin hopes to create a national cryptocurrency for the UK that "upholds British morals and values of trust and honesty". BritCoin

A new cryptocurrency called britcoin has launched, claiming to be the future of decentralised digital currency in the UK for both individual consumers and businesses.

The developers of britcoin believe that the altcoin addresses current issues with existing cryptocurrencies, whilst at the same time keeping "true British ethics and values in mind".

Speaking to IBTimes UK, britcoin creator William Thomas claims that established cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have inherent flaws that include slow transaction times, monopolies of mining hardware and risks of 51% attacks.

"Britcoin was launched to address these issues, ensuring there is more security and a fairer distribution of minted coins for users," Thomas says. "Furthermore, our mission is to create a recognisable and trusted brand that upholds British morals and values of trust and honesty."

While it is aimed primarily at UK citizens, Thomas does note that the cryptocurrency can be used and traded by anyone around the world; "Johnny Foreigners welcome."

National cryptocurrencies

Britcoin was established on the belief that a digital currency distributed to a large population of a small region has a much higher overall market penetration than a global cryptocurrency.

Such a concept has been tested before with similar nation-based cryptocurrencies for countries like Iceland, Israel and Spain, however there has yet to be any stand-out success stories.

The most highly publicised of all the national cryptocurrencies was Iceland's Auroracoin, which was heralded by its developers at its launch in March as the start of a financial revolution. Despite briefly becoming the world's fourth most valuable cryptocurrency, auroracoin has since plummeted in price and been branded "one of the biggest pump and dumps in cryptocurrency history" by some commenters.

Currently on CoinMarketCap, britcoin sits about halfway down a list of just over 400 cryptocurrencies recognised by the site, with a market capitalisation of around $20,000 (£12,000). This puts it above other national cryptocurrencies like gaelcoin (Ireland), pesetacoin (Spain) and sambacoin (Brazil), but still well below Auroracoin (Iceland) and isracoin (Israel).

Gaining momentum

Since quietly launching last month there has been little publicity surrounding britcoin. Recently, however, the team has been going to unusual lengths to get the word out about their altcoin. Their efforts have included tweets to Prime Minister David Cameron about the potential of britcoin and public spats with Scotland-based cryptocurrency scotcoin.

Future plans include britcoin scratch cards that would be distributed freely to the public, as well as the establishment of a britcoin marketplace that will allow users to buy, sell and trade anything they want using the cryptocurrency.

"We believe now is the right time to grab the attention of the British general public and gain some traction in the marketplace," Thomas says.

"As a new coin, britcoin does not carry any of the negative connotations that bitcoin does. We intend for britcoin to be a standard of integrity and security in the digital currency world."